Phone Line to provide mental health support for front-line workers extended to educators
NASHVILLE—Recently, the Tennessee Department of Education and the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS), in partnership with several statewide organizations, announced the COVID-19 Emotional Support Line is now available for all Tennessee educators.
The emotional support line provides free and confidential support from specially trained volunteer mental health professionals to callers experiencing increased anxiety and stress due to the national pandemic. The COVID-19 Emotional Support Line is available to call at 888-642-7886 from 6 a.m.- 10 p.m. CT daily.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about significant challenges, anxiety and stressors for many, including those doing the work of educating our kids,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “We are grateful to our partners at TDMHSAS for extending access to this resource to all Tennessee educators, who now can get critical supports from trained mental health professionals in a confidential setting.”
Specially trained mental health professionals answer incoming calls from the line and provide emotional support through active listening, helping callers identify and address basic needs, and informing callers about tools for managing stress and strategies for self-care.
In May, the COVID-19 Emotional Support Line was created by the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, along with the Mental Health Active Response Team (MHART), the Tennessee Association of Alcohol, Drug, and other Addictions Services (TAADAS) and National Association of Social Workers-TN Chapter (NASW-TN), for healthcare workers and first responders who are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic response.
“When we created this Emotional Support Line with our partners back in May, it was intended for those working on the front lines of the pandemic working in health care and as first responders. Due to the outpouring of support as well as capacity, we are grateful to be able to announce this expansion to offer needed support to educators across the state of Tennessee,” said TDMHSAS Commissioner Marie Williams, LCSW.
“We at MHART are so thankful to be able to be a part of facilitating the expansion of this Emotional Support Line to all teachers and educators across the state of Tennessee. The fact that 5 statewide organizations have come together in the span of just a few weeks to support this expansion is a testament to the goodwill of Tennesseans and to the desperate need for a service like this for educators who have been struggling during this pandemic now more than ever. We are committed to being there for our teachers because they are committed to being there for our kids in one of the noblest and oldest professions. The future of our state depends on their success,” said T.J. Stone, Executive Coordinator, MHART.
The COVID-19 Emotional Support Line does not offer mental health treatment and is not intended to replace mental health crisis or suicide prevention services. The TDMHSAS Statewide Crisis Line is available at 855-274-7471 or by texting “TN” to 741-741.
Learn more about the COVID-19 Emotional Support Line here.
For additional information on the department’s COVID-19 and school reopening related resources, please visit https://www.tn.gov/education/health-and-safety/update-on-coronavirus/reopening-guidance.html. For Tennessee Department of Education media inquiries, contact Edu.MediaInquiries@tn.gov.